holiday decorating

Quick Tips for Friday – packing up Christmas


More holiday decoration storage and organization tips

While putting up my decorations for the year I noticed some of my little tricks I’ve developed that might be worth sharing.

To keep the musty attic smell out of soft items like stockings, tree skirts, table runners, garlands, even wreaths I toss some cinnamon sticks or cloves in the box or bag with them. Take care not to let them be in direct contact if oils or colors could affect the seasonal items, it won’t do much good to have things smell better if they are ruined with stains!

Some years ago after buying some new ornaments I wrote on the packages they came in what the they looked like, before hanging them. Now when I am undressing the Christmas tree I can very easily put them back in the same box. I have gotten so used to this handy little trick I didn’t think to share it at the start of the season!


Mark ornament boxes to re-use for storage.

Mark ornament boxes to re-use for storage.

This makes packing Christmas ornaments so much easier!

This makes packing Christmas ornaments so much easier!


I also try to keep certain types of items together in the storage bins I use. Outdoor lights are in different bins than ornaments used for the tree, stockings are stored with tree skirt, etc. With this system I can take a peek into one bin and find a whole category of items quickly; even when I forget to put a label on the bin or can’t remember the genius plan of remembering what color bin is supposed to go with what items.

Happy un-decorating!

Categories: Christmas, cleaning, decorating, helpful tips, holiday decorating, holiday tips, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday – taking down holiday lights and decorations

If your decorations were complicated to put up, you did them for the first time or they turned out especially great this year – DO THIS FIRST.
Take photos for reference.
I don’t mean lighted nighttime ‘Look, how pretty!’ shots, but daytime ‘This is how it is done.’ shots. Concentrate on anything that will help you duplicate the positive results next year. Print and store with your decorations, make notes if you thought of better ways to do it or complications you had. Or create a folder on your computer to save it.
It is easier than figuring out how to get the ornaments back in the boxes and will be as useful as having untangled light strands next year.

Oh, speaking of storing ornaments, bonus tip here:

Those plastic containers with apples and other fruit from Costco are great for packing away ornaments safely!

Re use store packages for fruits to store Christmas ornament

Re use store packages for fruits to store Christmas ornament

Feel free to come back and thank me next December. 🙂

Categories: Christmas, Christmas lights, decorating, helpful tips, holiday decorating, holiday tips, organizing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Re-Post: First time putting up Christmas lights?

Christmas Lights

Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally when many people put up Christmas lights, so I thought this would be a good time to re post this blog. It’s some advice that came to mind while installing my own lights that year.

One thing I would add is to check the weather in advance to pick the best day to work. This year in Southern California we are expecting rain the Friday after Thanksgiving so maybe not the best day to plan on climbing ladders and playing with electricity outdoors!

First time putting up Christmas lights?.

Categories: Christmas, Christmas lights, decorating, helpful tips, holiday decorating, holiday tips, outdoor lights, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

What a great collection of helpful tips!

Thanks to The Daily Buzz and for creating this awesome compliation of terrific ideas and to Artsy Names by Debby Yennaco for sharing it on Facebook! Loved it so much I had to pass along too. I think the sheet storage and old wet wipes container usage are going to be the most useful for me. Which ones do you think you might use?

Categories: cleaning, decorating, helpful tips, holiday decorating, holiday tips, organizing, repurposing, storage | Leave a comment

Wrapping paper tip

Save unused Christmas wrapping paper by putting what is left of the roll INSIDE the cardboard tube it was originally on. Easy to store and kept nice till next year.
Merry Christmas!!

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Categories: Christmas, holiday decorating, holiday tips, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A little reminder about smoke detectors

You are probably already very familiar with the advice to test or replace the batteries in your smoke and fire alarms every time we change the clocks. But did you know you should replace the entire unit about every ten years?
How old do you think your smoke detector is? If you can’t remember it may well be time to have new ones installed.
It is an inexpensive, simple thing that can make a world of difference in protecting your home and loved ones.
Fires from Christmas lights, other decorations, heating appliances, cooking, etc increase sharply this time of year. Taking just a few hours and not much money to go around your house and update the fire alarms is a worthy investment for peace of mind!
Happy and SAFE holidays to you!!

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Categories: Christmas, Christmas lights, fire detector, fire safety, holiday decorating, holiday tips, lights, safety, smoke alarm, smoke detector | Leave a comment

More Holiday lighting tips – this time from the electric company

SCE has some safety tips for your Christmas lights.

I would like to add to make sure you do not ever plug in a cord receptacle that may be wet. My lights are off tonight because my outdoor power source does not offer enough protection during rain for me to feel 100% confident. In wet weather, my lights are off, no arguements. It is not worth the risk.
Happy Holidays!!

Categories: Christmas, Christmas lights, decorating, holiday decorating, holiday tips, lights, outdoor lights | Leave a comment

First time putting up Christmas lights?

I’ve been busy but really want to post the follow-up I promised with tips for those who may not have put up outdoor decorative holiday lights before. Or your might find some things to keep in mind if it is the first time you are hanging lights at a new location.
Mainly you really need to take a good look at the overall layout of the building and the grounds around it. Here are some general points to take into consideration, in no particular order:

1. Where is the power source? Is there an outdoor plug or will you need to run power from inside somewhere? There are battery/solar options available nowadays as well. Are you using timers, will you manually be turning lights on and off?

2. How big is the building? 1 story, 2 story? How high are you willing to go if there is more than one story? Do you have the proper tools to achieve the height you want? Even if it’s only one story make sure your ladder is tall enough! If you are going on the second story it might be necessary to stand on some of the roof areas of the first story. Is that viable option?

3. Can you get access from below to all the places you want to put lights? Are there plants, trees, steps, furniture to manuever around to put the ladder in place? Will you need scaffolding, other people to help? Maybe you need to access from ABOVE not below in some areas.

4. Decide on pattern/scene of how you want it to look and determine if that will really work on the building you are decorating. Are there plants, trees, etc to be included in the lighting scheme?

5. How will you attach the lights? Clips, nails, staple gun? Are you able to find a way to attach the stings where you want them to be? Keep in mind if you nail or staple the damage it can cause to the wood and invite rot, pests etc in the future-consider the long-term impact of deciding exactly how you plan to attach the lights to the building.

6. Be prepared with everything you need and make sure you have plenty of time (and assistance if needed). There will almost always be something to cause a delay and you don’t want to be still working on it when once it gets dark and cold or rush anything and risk your safety.

7. As noted in previous post: test and layout all the lights you intend to use before starting to hang any of them. This step alone can save you so much time and trouble. Even brand new lights need to be tested and will be easier to handle after being stretched out from the packaging for a few minutes first (good tip for putting lights on the tree too).

These are some of the things I thought of as being part of my mental preparation. When hanging my own lights this year, I tried to view it through the eyes of someone who hasn’t done it before. I could go on probably, but experience is really always the best educator, so go on out there and light up your little piece of the world!!

Categories: Christmas, Christmas lights, decorating, holiday decorating, holiday tips, lights, outdoor lights, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Decorating advice for outdoor holiday lights

When putting up outdoor Christmas lights here are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly.
1. Make sure you gather everything you need before getting started. Do you have extra staples for the staple gun or plenty of clips? Do you need someone else to help, or is yours a one person job?
2. Plug in light strands and test before you start hanging! Personally I prefer to set aside non working strands to deal with last.
3. AFTER testing by plugging in untangle and lay out the good strands on the ground. Unless, of course the strands were tangled with one another, then you needed to untangle first to see which ones work.
4. Test plug good strands again, especially if using the tiny bulb style (not newer LED lights). Bulbs can come loose or break while handling causing the whole strand to stop working.
5. Inspect the good strands for any problems or defects like damaged wires if you did not already do so when you untangled them.
6. Now lay the light strands out on the ground around the house in the pattern you wish to hang. Connect them to each other, make sure you plan for gaps and getting around the various shapes of the building.
7. If you have enough strands in good working order, start hanging! If not then it’s time to check out the ones you set aside or go buy more if you didn’t have any.
These tips are mostly common sense but it’s funny how we can forget since we only do this once a year. And usually we are excited about making the house beautiful so we rush into it! But if you follow these few simple steps and take the extra couple of minutes to prepare for the task, I promise you will get the results you want faster, with less trouble and be able to enjoy what you have accomplished sooner!
Happy Holidays!!!
I may do another post just on tip #1 as a checklist, especially for those decorating with lights for the first time!

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Categories: Christmas, Christmas lights, decorating, holiday decorating, holiday tips, lights, outdoor lights | Leave a comment

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